Bill Providing Relief From Unnecessary Care Delays Reaches Gov. Newsom’s Desk

Consumer health advocates and providers lauded California Physical Therapy Association sponsored legislation passed by the California State Legislature that would stop the practice of health plans and insurers intervening unnecessarily in pain relief and treatment sought by patients from physical therapists. Assembly Bill 931 by Asm. Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) prevents the use of “prior authorization” for patients’ first 12 visits to a physical therapist, similar to a law recently enacted in Maine.

“When a person is injured, the last thing that they should be worrying about is whether or not an insurance administrator will approve what his or her doctor has deemed medically necessary,” said Irwin. “Under AB 931, patients will no longer be stopped by health plans and insurers from receiving efficient access to early treatment, which is often the most important phase of care.”

AB 931 received votes of 62-1 and 39-0 on the Floors of the State Assembly and Senate, respectively, and is supported by the California Chronic Care Coalition, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the California Neurology Society, and physical therapy organizations.

Dr. Rick Katz, DPT, MA, President of the California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA), praised Irwin for authoring the bill. “Asm. Irwin has a unique understanding of the need for patients who often face hurdles in being treated and providers being hit with mountains of paperwork, just to receive a treatment or two before the next delay,” he said. He added that data show that early access to physical therapy is critical for favorable outcomes, and AB 931 would allow patients to receive early, uninterrupted treatment.

AB 931 does not change the standards health plans and insurers can require as a condition of paying for care—basically, that services are “medically necessary.” 

Gov. Gavin Newsom has until October 14 to make a final decision on this policy.


Source: California Physical Therapy Association

About CPTA

The California Physical Therapy Association is a Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association. As the third largest Physical Therapy association in the world, the California Physical Therapy Association has over 10,000 members and is the largest voice for the physical therapy profession in the state of California.

1990 Del Paso Road
Sacramento, CA